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sexta-feira, novembro 20, 2009
Interview with Luis Pires - A new voice in the portuguese poetic firmament
A good book changes you, even if it’s only to add a little to the building blocks of your mind. It’ll make you laugh and perhaps cry; it should certainly make you think things over. A wonderful book will make you dream in spheres you’ve never dared before, and in the long run it’ll spur you to create something new. By reading these poems I felt something had lit the fires in my mind, it told me truths I had only glimpsed before. That’s what a good book should do, be it poetry, fiction or essay. Books have made me who I am. Little by little we change and grow by reading books. Since I was a little boy I hold as Gospel that we read in order to travel, that is, we want to achieve that sense of otherness that only books can make us feel. Through this we can interrupt the curse of having only one life to lead.
The Poetry of Luis makes me feel that way. No book can have a higher praise that that.
Next follows a written interview conducted at the end of October 2009. In this interview I was curious to explore the genesis of his writing career (among other things).
By the example of the work provided, I think we’re in the presence of a new voice in the Portuguese poetic firmament. Is this the first work published? What lead you to writing? Did you always felt like writing, that is, the “writing bug” was always present in you?
Yes, this is my first published work. I enjoy writing as far as I can remember. I think it all started when I I began to know how to read. We used to have a lot of books in the house and I used to read some of them, specially poetry. I don’t remember the reason, I just read it. One of my first poetry books was a small book with poems by Cesário Verde. I remember that I read it in a few hours. A few years later, in school, I had to read a lot (Eça de Queirós, Florbela Espanca, Luís de Camões, Fernando Pessoa ...) as I was a student of Portuguese Literature in my 12th grade. The pleasure of writing came after my 20’s when I felt I needed to put in paper some feelings and ideas.
Did you always write Poetry or are we talking about a late bloom in terms of creative writing?
Definitely it was a late awakening.
Considering the authors whose writing we might call Poetry, would you choose anyone that could be viewed as an influence upon your own writing? I’m thinking nationally and abroad.
I would have to choose Florbela Espanca just because her poetry as the ability to easily make me enter in her own world. Strangely I also get some king of influence on music. For example, I simply love the lyrics of Mafalda Veiga music.
What is for you the writing of Poetry? Does it come from a inner drive to write to others or do you write for yourself, that is, the publishing act is just a happy follow-up to the Art of Writing, not being something important in itself?
First of all, I think it is an expression of myself, of my feelings towards life and persons who are important to me. For a long time, i was the only person who could read my work. I didn’t showed it to anyone. Just in 2008 I decided do publish some of my poems in the internet, in a time that I need to speak to myself and to materialize in some way some of my dreams and fears.
By the sample made available, I got the impression that your writing comes from inner and outer experiences, that is, it’s not something attained by just going for the intellectual exercise. Is that so?
I just write because I enjoy it so much. If I don’t take pleasure in it, I don’t do it. But if I had the time, I would continue to investigate as I did in some point of my life, everything about it. There’s a lot we can improve just by trying to understand what other people tried to say in their work.
Can we identify leitmotivs in your writing, that is, recurring themes that drive you to the writing spell?
Feelings. Just feelings. About life, about people, about dreams. Bottom line: it all leads to “believing”. I think that we all are losing the ability to believe.
It’s quite noticeable nowadays that the big international publishing houses are now taking a closer look at Poetry as an emerging market and not just because it’s fashionable to have a few books in print that can be considered as Poetry, that is, the main drive in publishing Poetry doesn’t rely solely on the fact that they want to look good in the picture. Do you agree with this, that is, even taking into account that Portugal has always been a country of Poets, is it noticeable nowadays that there’s an Opening-Of-Minds where the publishing of Poetry in Portugal is concerned, that allows more works to come into the open?
For what I was able to see, in Portugal is very difficult to sell poetry. By some reason, bookstores are not interested. At least, that’s what editors tell me. Despite this, I’ve decided to publish, just by the joy that I’m going to take by knowing that somewhere, someone could have the chance to read one of my poems and in some way, be able to identify him or herself with it means.
When will this work see the light of day in terms of publishing? Besides this have you got something else in the pipes? Will it also be Poetry or will you harvest other literary fields?
I hope that it can go to the bookstores just before new year but most probably it will be presented in January [it'll be published in the 2nd week of December]. I’d like to write a romance in 2010 and I even have some notes for it, but I don’t have much spare time to do it so who knows? I also didn’t have time to write this book and there it is…
How did the opportunity to publish come about?
I was very simple. I just gathered my poems and send them to two editors. After a month or so I received two proposals and decided for the one I considered more interesting, taking two factors in consideration: cost (yes, I will have to pay part of the editing process) and distribution / publishing possibilities.
How do you see the current writing endeavours in Portugal (literary and publishing wise)? Are there any other up-and-coming writers that we should watch out for?
I really don’t know, right now I’m just seeing some public figures publishing some romances, but I still didn’t have the time to get an opinion…
How do you write? At home? At the café? At night? Have you got a writing schedule?
Anywhere bust mostly at night or early in the morning. Those are the times where I can take a moment to understand what is happening in my life and reorganize ideas in my head. Sometimes, that thinking drives to a poem, a sentence or some kind of writing.
Last but not least, are there any books or author that you would take with you to the proverbial Desert Island?
I leave you with a list of authors:
Fernando Pessoa, Florbela Espanca, Cesário Verde, Almeida Garrett, António Lobo Antunes, Eça de Queirós, Milan Kundera, Patrick Süskind, Nicholas Sparks e tantos outros…
I would like to end this interview by asking whether you could leave us with some words and tips of advice to all the aspiring writers that have not been able to publish yet. Anything worth talking about?
First of all, enjoy. It doesn’t matter if you write better or worse, just take a kick out of it. And in second, believe! Because if you really believe in something, you have always the possibility to make it real.
Please feel free to leave your comments.
As soon as possible I intend to post here one of his poems that means something to me...
The book is entitled "Para Ti" ("To you") and is scheduled to be out by the 2nd week of December. Watch out for it. It's worth while.